Hold to Minimalist Principles and Don’t Fall for Ads

There’s a reason that companies spend millions of dollars on advertising:

It works.

Even those of us who try to subscribe to minimalist principles can find ourselves falling for the promises in advertising. In fact, just about half of Americans actually trust the advertising that they see, as you can tell from this screenshot from an infographic about advertising:


However, the reality is that most advertising uses tricks to convince you to buy something.

What Do Ads Sell You?

A lot of the time, ads try to sell you on a lifestyle. You are shown beautiful people doing fun things. The idea is that you associated a particular brand or product with that lifestyle — a lifestyle that you might aspire to. You’re supposed to feel as though you can be like that, and achieve that lifestyle if you are willing to purchase the brand.

In other cases, the ad tries to sell you a solution to your problems, or tries to convince you that you will be doing good when you buy something. According to the infographic, only six percent of Americans don’t trust ads about eco-friendly products. Unfortunately, many of the products and companies that claim to be eco-friendly are actually involved in a practice called “greenwashing.” They try to convince you that you will be living more sustainably (which is one of the principles of of minimalist living) when you purchase their products. The truth, though, is that you might not be helping.

Whether your problem is losing weight or keeping your child safe, it’s important to carefully consider the claims in ads, and realize that finding a solution isn’t likely to come from buying a certain product or service. Instead, you will likely to need to take action on your own, and it might involve more work than simply plunking down your cash.

Combat the Urge to Buy

When you watch ads, it’s tempting to go ahead and just purchase something. Your best defense is to step back and carefully consider the purchase in light of your minimalist principles. Remind yourself of what’s most important in your life.  Chances are that buying more stuff isn’t high on your list.

If you find yourself tempted by an ad, remember, first of all, that there is a good chance that the claims made in the ad aren’t entirely truthful. Models are photoshopped to look more attractive. Food is created artificially to look delicious. Often, the reality falls far short of the presentation. So remind yourself of that.

Next, ask yourself why you want to buy that item. Will you actually use it? Will it help you reach your goals? Or will it just be so much more clutter around the house? Examine your motivations. Institute a “thinking period” before you make any purchase. Your thinking period should include reflection on the item or service, and require you to answer questions about the items usefulness, your need for it, and your motivation for buying it. After you go through this exercise, there is a good chance that you will no longer feel like you want to make the purchase.

You can see the whole infographic at Finances Online.

About the Author

Miranda is a freelance writer and professional blogger. See more of her writing at MirandaMarquit.com. Her book, Confessions of a Professional Blogger is available from Amazon.